Celtic started the new campaign with a win over defending champions Glasgow City as captain Kelly Clark blasted home with the last meaningful kick of the game to seal a 2-1 comeback victory in a tightly fought opening contest of the 2020 Scottish Building Society SWPL 1 season.
Celtic gave a competitive debut to new loan signing from Atletico Madrid, Anita, whilst City handed a starting debut to winter capture Mairead Fulton, a former Celtic midfielder, with the recently announced Lauren Wade and Aoife Colvill starting from the bench.
In wet and windy conditions it would be the home side who would have first sight at goal as a cross from the busy Lisa Robertson met Anita’s head however the Spaniard’s glancing effort caressed the base of the post and bounced clear. It would be City stopper Lee Alexander that would be the busier of the two custodians in the opening stages as she saved from both Sarah Ewens and Summer Green.
The visitors best chance fell early to Claire Shine but the Irishwoman, who has been prolific in recent years against her city rivals, was denied by a well-executed last ditch tackle by Celtic midfielder Natalie Ross as she bore down on Chloe Logan’s goal.
The Hoops were again denied by the woodwork on the 27th minute as American midfielder Sarah Teegarden’s dipping shot rattled the crossbar before City’s Hayley Lauder was denied twice in quick succession following a pair of driving runs from the impressive Sam Kerr, in a week where the 20-year-old was called up to Shelley Kerr’s Scotland squad for next month’s Pinatar Cup.
With the sides re-emerging after the interval still level it would only take two minutes for Scott Booth’s side to break the deadlock. After Jenna Clark sent the ball into the six yard box striker Shine would find herself unmarked on the goal line to poke home with replays showing that the striker was probably just onside.
Celtic’s response was swift though as last season’s top goalscorer, Sarah Ewens, cut in from the left hand side and let loose a shot from the corner of the area that sailed over the outstretched arms of Alexander.
With conditions still treacherous, both sides rang the changes but neither could assert ultimate authority on proceedings although each would have a chance to seal victory.
After Hayley Lauder’s 85th minute close range header went wide of Logan’s near post it would be Celtic captain Clark that would seal a 94th minute victory for her side. Driving home from the edge of the area after City failed to clear their lines, sending a large home support into raptures and giving Head Coach Fran Alonso a winning start to life in SWPL 1.
Celtic: Logan, Bartle, Ross, Craig, Anita, Robertson, Ewens, Teegarden, Clark, Green, Warrington. Subs: Kerr (GK), Giard, Donaldson, Nicolson, Brenda, McAllister, McGovern.
Glasgow City: Alexander, Lauder, Love, Fulton, Crichton, Shine, Clark, Sinclair, Ross, Kerr, Foley. Subs: Clachers (GK) Colquhoun, Menzies, Colvill, Wade, Howard.
Post-match interviews with Celtic Head Coach, Fran Alonso, and Glasgow City Head Coach, Scott Booth.